May 16, 2011

Short Story 23

I lost my clarity the last time round. It ran between the pages of my life while I ran behind it, panting, in a wild goose chase. While I whizzed past little shops selling memories, its shopkeepers called out to me to re-buy them and claim them. And somewhere in between, fascinated by a blue bottle of the clear sea I once saw in my dream, I paused. And clarity ran away forever…

May 15, 2011

Short Story- 22

Two tracks raced to my left, fiercely competing with one another, sunlight picking little metal points to glimmer their speeds up, vying for my attention.

And suddenly unannounced, they crossed paths, merged into one in a stunt, and continued sprinting, throwing a flirty metallic grin at me, who was safe behind AC II tier glass window, unaware of their inaudible cheap words!

They then split once again into two and raced on whistling.

Suddenly out of nowhere two bright red trains, loudly sounding their horns, raced ahead and crushed both of them to death. The trains looked ancient with wizened compartments aged with remembrances- brooding and serious. They lifted their hats as if in an apology for the misbehaviour of their kind and came to a halt noiselessly.

I went ahead, as my train serpentined on, wanting to retch!

May 14, 2011

Illundavoor Tale- 4

(Glossary below the story for those of you who are not familar with Tamil)

(Dedicated to that temple pond)




She jumped down step after step, her two ponytails bouncing along with her. She then proceeded to jump up on to them.




And in this repeated activity, she somehow seemed to be content.

It was a breezy morning. She had been woken up at 5. Her mother had planted a big kiss on her chubby cheeks, and whispered, “Ezhundukko ezhundukko da kutta! Inikku Seetha chithi-kku Kalyaanam. Koil-kku poganam”.

She had yawned, rubbed her eyes together and somehow managed to go through the motions of getting ready. She had fully awoken when her mom had puffed powder onto her face and tightly wound her curly mop of hair into two fat ponytails on either side of a central partition on her head.

With trays of clothes, sweets and nuts, loads of bags of various paraphernalia, they had boarded the cars to the town temple. She had sat on her mother’s lap near the window seat and looked out.

The sky had just been slowly stirring up from its sleepy gray robes. She had fallen asleep on the way. By the time she had got up, two minutes later, they were already at the temple and the first rays of dawn had lit the town of Illundavoor.

Lines of marigold flowers had been entwined around the stone columns. The temple elephant, Kuttan, had been bathed and was surprisingly not smelling of dung. Sanjayan, the mahout was applying fresh sandalwood paste on to its forehead while Kuttan was shooing flies away, with his trunk.

The function had begun and her mother soon left her with one of the older kids to take care of the million works that crop up during weddings. The older kid had lost interest after a bit, and found another kid to play hopscotch near the temple kolam.

She had also tagged along but made to sit in the side and watch. She soon lost interest and began her own game in the temple steps.




She jumped down step after step and then jumped up again.

That is when he came. With his red shorts and black checked shirt. Hair neatly oiled and parted in the side, socks with a Mickey Mouse print in the middle, and a handkerchief tucked into his shirt front pocket.

He laughed at her.

“Enna thaniya velayaadindrukka?” he questioned

“Unakku enna vandhudhu?” she asked screwing up her face in offense.

“Susu!” he replied and laughed again at his own joke, cupping his hands in front of his mouth to control it.

She turned away angrily. Idiot-boy, she thought.

She walked down some more steps, putting distance between them and continued playing, lifting her red paavadai with its gold border slightly above her ankles so she wouldn’t trip.



“Un paer enna?” he questioned.

“Unakku…” she began, “Nee po! Naan unkitta pesamatten”.

“Yaen? Un paer enna? Sollu” he asked.

“Nee bad boy! Solla matten”.

“Seri sollathey! Enakku pudhu game theriyum.”

She did not reply immediately. He did not go away either. He sat on the steps. Propped his chin on his hand and looked at her jumping.

“Enna game....?” she asked slowly

A grin spread over his face.

“Vaa kaamikkaren,” he said and walked up to her. He took her hand in his and they jumped down the steps till they were near the water.

“Kaala ulla vei” he instructed.

“Ayyo vendaam! Jill-unnu irukkum” she said, her eyes looking like saucerpans, apprehensive.

“Onnum irukkaathu. Vei” he encouraged.

She slowly edged her toes to the water surface. Her little finger touched the water and impulsively she retreated.

“Sonnen la! Jill-unnu irukku!” she complained.

“Ayyo! Bayanthaanguli! Ippo paaru!” he said and proceeded to put his left foot inside the water.

Instantly fifty small fishes came and nibbled at his toes. He wriggled and laughed at their ticklish pecking.

“Dei! Kaal edu daaaa...! Meen kadikkaporathu” she squealed frightened.

“Idhu saami oda meen. Onnum pannathu. Try pannen” he said

She held on to his hand tightly and looked at him cautiously. He grinned encouragingly. She smiled and put her left foot slowly into the water.



“Ezhundukko ezhundukko da kutta! Inikku Seetha chithi-kku Kalyaanam. Koil-kku poganam”- Wake up wake up, dear one! We need to go to the temple for Seetha aunty’s wedding.

Kolam- Temple pond

“Enna thaniya velayaadindrukka?” – Why are you playing by yourself?

“Unakku enna vandhudhu?” – Translation:What is your problem? Transliteration: What comes for you?

“Susu!” - Pee

Paavadai- traditional skirt

“Un paer enna?”- What is your name?

“Unakku…” –You

“Nee po! Naan unkitta pesamatten”- Go away! I won’t talk to you.

“Yaen? Un paer enna? Sollu” – Why? What is your name? Tell me!

“Nee bad boy! Solla matten”- You are a bad boy! I won’t tell you.

“Seri sollathey! Enakku pudhu game theriyum.”- Fine, don’t tell me. I know a new game.

“Enna game” – What game?

“Vaa kaamikkaren” – Come, I’ll show you.

“Kaala ulla vei” – Put your foot into the water.

“Ayyo vendaam! Jill-unnu irukkum” – Oh no! It will be cold!

“Onnum irukkaathu. Vei” – No. It won’t be. Just put your foot in.

“Sonnen la! Jill-unnu irukku!” – I told you , it will be cold…!

“Ayyo! Bayanthaanguli! Ippo paaru!” – Oh god! Scared cat! Look at me now.

“Dei! Kaal eduda! Meen kadikkaporathu” – Hey! Take out your feet. The fish will bite you

“Idhu saami oda meen. Onnum pannathu. Try pannen” – There are God’s fishes. They won’t bite. Why don’t you try?

May 13, 2011


there was a family of children
one boy.

they all grew up.
frocks turned to sarees.

and one lone shorts was slowly lengthening into pants.

one saree turned bridal
puffed up
gave out a baby

i was born

i went back to that village
to see if i could find those discarded frocks and that faded shorts

i see it somewhat.
i wish it other-what.

my joyride begins.

May 09, 2011

Short Story-21

They were all of a faded brown colour, with creased ears, one eye at the middle of the forehead, a stick like nose and a perfectly round mouth of pink of point three millimeter diameter.

They had transparent white wings with silver veins running through them like a leaf. And they all were exactly one millimeter tall!

hey were all spawned by the first ray of the full moonlight that hit the lotus that bloomed on the city pond. At once! And they all knew what they had to do.

They quickly organized themselves into groups of ten and took up a street each in the city. They had a red glowing mole under their chin through which they spoke to one another to convey finished work, or to ask for help.

They diligently slept behind the clocks in the houses, all day through, and in the night, they executed their evil purposes.

When people were sleeping, snores echoing off crumbling walls, they stealthily, yet quickly crept into carelessly tossed handbags and pegged up backpacks.

They made their way into little pouches and secret compartments, leaving no trail, rousing no suspicion.

And with a giggle you'd mistake for a cricket's sneeze, they knotted up all the earphone wires tangled beyond comprehension; and satisfied, they went back to sleep.

May 03, 2011

Illundavoor Tale- 3

They had become like to prides of lions! Just that they painted, instead of Urinating to mark their territory!

There were blows exchanged at rare times. Ooruga, thankfully had escaped those. They all knew he was a simpleton. And they knew he was automatically following what he was being asked to do. No party preferences, No territorial lordship!

Ooruga was not always called so. He must have had some other names. In his godknowswhere house that he ran away from when his dad beat him, that fateful night for a petty crime.

But ever since he came to Illundavoor and served mango pickle at Pandian Mess, he had been called Ooruga.

He did not always know he could paint so well. But when he accidentally picked up Sarala’s(Pandian’s daughter) colouring book, his life took a turn.

Carefully he filled the clown’s eyes.

Beautifully he painted the nails of the princess.

When party officers came around with vats of paints, Pandian, a staunch PDCZ supporter, sent Ooruga to paint the wall posters.

It was late evening. Ooruga picked up his bright orange paint can and walked to the wall that had the party;s water bottle symbol drawn across it.

His brush looked like it was having a bad hair day. But in Ooruga’s hand, it plied to obey.Referring to the paper in hand, Ooruga sketched the Tamil letters precisely to read Kannaiyya- the party’s local candidate.

The weirdly bright orange paint was stickier than usual. Slowly Ooruga swirled the paint on to the brush, and finished off the background fill. ‘VOTE FOR’, he added on top as specified.

It was growing dark and the paint started to glow. Ooruga looked at it in wonder. It was glow in the dark paint!


Little Ooruga, who was then named somethingelse and not Ooruga, sat with his older sister in the thinnai* of their house.

His mother was braiding his sister’s hair into two fat oily plaits. She was filling colours into her book with her new paintbox.

Ooruga dipped his finger into the tiny paint bottle. His sister hit him on the hand and wiped it off with a waste cloth.

“Vendaam da! Idhu aai!”** she said.

Ooruga grinned listlessly. His mother smiled.

“Kuttykku colour pannanama?***” she asked

“Avana colour pannavei ma…,****” she instructed the girl and retreated within the house.

His sister picked up his hand, made him clasp the paint. She dipped it inbto the glowing black paint.

“Idhulendu, raathiri light adikkum,*****” she explained.

They drew and eye with the black, washed the brush. Then they filled the iris yellow. A bizarre yellow eye that glowed in the dark that night. His sister and he had laughed over it.

“Ooh! Naan poochaandi! Unna kadikka poren…,******” his sister play-acted with the painted eye held on her forehead.

Ooruga had giggled madly.

The next day, he got beaten, he cried, and he ran away forever, with a crumpled paper in his pocket. Of the glowing yellow eye.

Ooruga laughed again. Sitting in the corner of the street, staring at his work of art glowing in the dark.

People walked past, barely noicing him. Ooruga was prone to such outbursts of laughing and crying. But he was harmless. He’d soon get over his bout and walk back to the mess and serve the mango pickle as he had done so for the last 25 years. This was just a ‘meanwhile’ cry or laugh.

He laughed again. Glow-in-the-dark Kannaiyya, he thought! As if he would open his name-eye in the night through the paint!

Ooruga got up and walked past to the mess.

*Thinnai- long narrow platform attached to the front of the house, overlooking the road and shaded by the roof that extends beyond the house

**Vendaam da! Idhu aai!- Don’t touch it! It is shit!

*** Kuttykku colour pannanama?- Does the little one want to paint?

****“Avana colour pannavei ma…,”- Make him colour.

***** “Idhulendu, raathiri light adikkum,”- This will glow in the dark

****** “Ooh! Naan poochaandi! Unna kadikka poren…,”- Oh! I am a demon. I’m going to bite you!

© Dryad's Peak
Maira Gall